Billionaires Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos are among the richest Americans who have paid zero federal income tax some years, according to a trove of newly released IRS records. The confidential IRS records from the wealthiest people in the United States were obtained by ProPublica and published on Tuesday.
It shows that Amazon founder Jeff Bezos paid no income tax in 2007 and 2011, while Tesla boss Elon Musk’s income tax bill came to zero in 2018.
Investor George Soros went three straight years – between 2016 and 2018 – without paying federal income tax, according to the records. Fellow investor Carl Icahn did not pay federal tax in 2016 and 2017. ProPublica has not revealed how it obtained the tax data. The outlet only said it was given the data in ‘raw form’ after publishing a series of articles that examined the IRS.
IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig said they are investigating the leak of the tax data. In reviewing the tax data, the site calculated what it called a ‘true tax rate’ for the billionaires by comparing how much tax they paid annually from 2014 to 2018 to how much Forbes estimated their wealth had grown in that same period.
The report found that, overall, the richest 25 Americans pay less in tax than the average worker does. The median American household, in recent years, earned an average salary of about $70,000 and paid 14 percent in federal taxes per year.